Name: Deborah Wild
Class Year: 1997
Country of Residence: Tbilisi, Georgia (German, married to a Dane)
Why is this recipe great? What’s its backstory?
Christmas is a big deal in our house. Apart from MHC elfing tradition I used to play Christmas elf (or nisse as one would call it in Denmark) for my friends in College, I loved playing Krampus for the German club and shared the German tradition of advent with my friends.
When I met my Danish husband and he told me he was atheist, my reply was, him not believing in God was not an issue, but Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, I’m afraid, were non-negotiable (both not traditions in his family).
When my oldest son was about three, he collected his hat, gloves, wrapped presents that he put in his car seat using it as a sleight and strapped our straw reindeer in front. When I asked why he wanted to be Santa Claus he answered “to bring presents to people”. A few years later, he asked me in earnest, when, I thought, Santa Claus would retire and if it work out time-wise for my son to take over the job once that happened. It is still the most magical time of the year for our kids.
My mother always baked her own Weihnachtsstollen. It is not as sweet as the kind you buy in the shop in Germany and hence has been for years very popular with friends and extended family. My mother used to bake several and gave them away to family and friends. Somehow, I have inherited that tradition. I usually bake three every year and we eat about one, and give and mail the rest to family and friends. In Georgia, I cant get fresh yeast, so adjusted the recipe for dry yeast. But since it depends where you live and what you can get, I will list the original recipe and the adjustments I have made to fit my circumstances.
Some additional comments:
My mother always complained that her Stollen flattened too much in the baking and actually halved the recipe, she tried to keep it in check by placing it in all kinds of forms, etc. but was never happy with the result. In my experience, it is better to make the original portion as the mass makes it slower and it flattens out less.
Be aware that the cake needs to settle after you baked it for the best result. 10 days minimum better is 14 days or even 4 weeks. Hence, I tend to bake the first one at the beginning of November for it to be ready for cutting by the beginning of December.
Some of the ingredients might be tricky to source I usually buy them in Germany and bring them to Georgia, obviously, I wouldn’t know where you can obtain them at the place you live.
Dresdner Weihnachtsstollen (Christmas Stollen/Cake) (German)
Serves 20-30 ? . Takes approx. 5-6 hours plus 2 weeks of settling
Soak the following four incredients in Rum overnight or longer:
- 100 grams of chopped citronate (candied lemon peel)
- 100 gr of chopped orangeate (candied orange peel)
- 150 gr of peeled and chopped almonds
- 500 gr of raisins
+ + +
- 1 kg flour *
- 100 gr fresh yeast **
- ½ litre of warm milk
- 200 gr sugar
- 450 gr soft butter
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- ½ levelled teaspoon of cardamom
- ½ levelled teaspoon of mace (dried nutmeg flower)
- 10 gr salt
- 30 gr bitter almonds***
For after the baking:
- 100 gr butter
- 125 gr powdered sugar
- 2 pkg (2 x 8 gr) Vanilla sugar****
*(in Georgia my experience it is best to add flour slowly as I don’t always manage get the full amount in with the fluidity given, in Germany I do not have the issue, so depending where you are and what the humidity there is, just be aware that this could be an issue.
** 100 gr fresh yeast = approx. 33, 3 gr dry yeast
*** these days most people substitute bitter almonds by using an extract or chemical substitute you can buy in the supermarket, however, my husbands really dislikes the fake, chemical taste of it, so I reverted to buying the original bitter almonds.
(Background: Most almond trees produce a small quantities of bitter almonds, since they are – unlike the non-bitter almonds sisters – in their raw form highly poisonous or toxic (hydrogen cyanide) , modern production sorts them out. In many countries, bitter almonds can be a bit tricky to come by. In Germany, you can find them in Reformhaus or in the Pharmacy. Don’t let them lie around, but once you bake or heat them, the cyanide has evaporated.)
**** again, we dislike the packages sold as Vanilla sugar in the Supermarket, so I tend to make my own Vanilla sugar by sticking scraped out vanilla beans into very fine sugar and leave it there until they are completely dried out, so I use a mixture of half powered sugar and half self-made Vanilla sugar, about 250 grams in total.
- Take a little bit of the flour, the yeast, 2 teaspoons of sugar and some of the lukewarm milk and let it raise for 45 minutes
- (if you use dry yeast, I let it raise for about 10 min here)
- Then take the remaining flour , the remaining milk with sugar, the warm, soft butter as well as the citronate, orangeate, and almonds, spices and salt and mix it all together. Form to a ball and let it raise for 45 minutes.
- (I take first the remaining sugar, milk, the soft warm butter and flour bit by bit and mix it together, let it raise for 30 minutes, before adding the citronate, orangeate and almonds in and then let it raise for another 50 minutes, that has worked better for me)
- Then knead the dough through thoroughly. (There a videos on Youtube how to form a Stollen, but basically) roll it out to about a 2 cm thick layer. You take one side or edge (left for example) and fold it over by about 2/3rds, then you take the opposing edge (right if it was left before) and fold it over again about 2/3 rds and over what you folded on the other edge so that in the middle you have 3 layers on top of each other. After rolling it out you had a round shape, the folding resulted into elongated oval shape.
- if you fancy it, you can take marzipan, roll it into a thin sheet and place it in between the layers you fold (1 or 2 sheets). My family never fancied it, so I haven’t tried it, but that is how you would do it, in case, you want it.
- Take a baking sheet/pan, oil it, lift the stolen onto it (I need four hands to accomplish this), I only can fit it on the baking shape diagonally, and let it raise for another 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (the original recipe says 200 degree Celsius but for me the Stollen gets to dark, so I reduced it a little) put it on the middle level and bake it for about 80 minutes.
- Take the 100 gr of butter, melt it and apply the melted butter to the Stollen with a brush once you have taken it out of the oven, then mix the two kinds of sugar and sieve the sugar over the Stollen while still warm (yes, the entire quantity – for me that is 250 gr of sugar)
- Once it has cooled off, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it in a cool, dry place for 2-4 weeks and let it settle before cutting it.
“ Es weihnachtet sehr” – Ein kulinarischer Kalender von Advent bis Neujahr” von Frank Gerhard, Sigloch Edition, 1978